90 minutes – Documentary
Festival release date: April 29, 2019 (Hot Docs Film Festival – Toronto – World Premiere)
Release date: September 20, 2019 (Toronto)
Production company: White Pine Pictures, Documentary Channel
Canadian distributor: White Pine Pictures
In 1982, world renowned epidemiologist, Dr. Daniel Cramer, linked Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder to ovarian cancer. Since the 1960s, J&J allegedly knew the risks and did nothing. In 2004, Dr. Philippa Darbre, a UK scientist, found parabens, a chemical preservative in many cosmetics, in breast tissue. In 2018, the National Institute of Health’s sister study linked breast cancer to personal care product use. Links to hormonal disruption in baby boys, developmental delays, low sperm count in men, infertility, cancer, diabetes, obesity and skin disease – the cosmetic industry isn’t pretty. Each morning we slather with 1000s of chemicals, many of which are proven to be toxic. In the United States, the Cosmetic and Personal Care Industry regulates itself. In Canada, implementing regulations is under scrutiny. There is doubt propagated by big industries making claims that we have nothing to worry about, positioning themselves as champions of personal empowerment through their multibillion dollar advertising campaigns. Top researchers worldwide have the hard science to answer the question ‘Are cosmetics and personal care products making us sick?’ Toxic Beauty talked to scientists, lawyers, advocates, regulators, politicians, a dynamic whistle blower, survivors and to women who have since lost their lives. It follows the class action lawsuit against J&J and the plaintiffs, personal stories of women fighting for justice in a race against time with this deadly disease. Woven throughout the lm is a human experiment. We document, as Boston University medical student, Mymy Nguyen, measures her chemical body burden from over 27 products. Scientists monitor her shocking results. In the end, Toxic Beauty meets the companies and people who offer solutions and optimism for safer, toxicant free cosmetics.
October 5, 2021: Toxic Beauty is the only Canadian project among the nominees for an International Emmy Awards to be announced November 22.